The Oglethorpe men's tennis team enjoyed an outstanding day on Monday in central Florida, sweeping their two matches as part of their spring break trip. They defeated Clark University at the USTA National Campus in Orlando in the morning, 8-1, before dispatching St. John's (Minnesota) in a tight 5-4 contest Monday evening at the Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland. The results improved the Stormy Petrels to 3-4 on the season.
In Monday evening's match against St. John's, the Petrels took two of the three doubles matches, putting themselves in excellent position. They got an 8-4 win from freshman Zoe Raymond and sophomore Michael Santaloci at No. 2, and a 7-5 tiebreak victory from sophomore Jacob Bertram and freshman Dustin Bowie at No. 3. The No. 1 tandem of sophomore Michael Allen and Richard Johnson fell 8-0, but the Petrels had the advantage going into the singles portion of the competition.
St. John's quickly tied it with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Bertarm at No. 6, but the Petrels got a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 4 to take a 3-2 lead. A 6-3, 6-2 victory by Raymond at No. 3 brought Oglethorpe to within a match of clinching the evening, but Johnson fell 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1, making it 4-3. The Petrels clinched, though, with a win by junior Matthew Magee out of the No. 5 slot. He took his match in a third-set supertiebreak, 7-5, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6) for Oglethorpe's fifth and decisive point. Bowie lost at No. 2 in another third-set supertiebreak, but it didn't matter.
In the morning match against Clark University, the contest proved to be very tight, despite the 8-1 final scoreline. Two of the three doubles matches went to a tiebreak, and the Petrels won all three. Johnson and Allen took their tiebreak 7-1 at No. 1, while Bowie and Bertram won theirs, 7-3. Meanwhile, Raymond and Santaloci were making quick work of their No. 2 match, 8-2.
In the doubles competition, Clark beat Johnson in a tight 6-4, 6-2 match at No. 1, but Bowie responded at No. 2 with a 6-4, 6-4 win in another even matchup, giving the Petrels wins in three out of the four tossup matches to that point. They would later win a fourth tossup, when Allen took down his No. 6 matchup in a third-set supertiebreak, 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-8). Raymond won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3, while Santaloci took down his opponent 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4. Magee won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5, as well.
"I thought it was a nice bouce-back for the guys today," said Oglethorpe head coach Peter Howell. "The Clark match was probably the closest 8-1 match I've ever been a part of, as there were four or five matches within it that played out as tossups. I give our guys credit for winning four of them, securing our victory. The St. John's win was an excellent, hard-fought victory. It's the type of match that'll give us good experience as we head into conference play. All in all, a good day for our men's team."
The Petrels have two more matches on Tuesday, when they stay in central Florida for another morning-evening doubleheader. They'll take on Ursinus at 8 a.m. in Kissimmee, then travel to Orlando to go against Wheaton (Illinois) at 7 p.m.